Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the honour to address this plenary on behalf of the European Union and its twenty-seven Member States.
Let me start by thanking the Chinese Presidency for the excellent organisation of the work over last days. I would also like to thank the facilitators, chairs, negotiators and technical teams for their tireless work on the text of the Global Biodiversity Framework and all other COP decisions.
Decision time is approaching.
And as the clock counts down, we need to remember why we are here.
We are here to ensure that societies, economies and communities continue to thrive. Not just for decades, but for centuries to come.
That will not happen without transformative action. It will not happen unless we make nature a global priority, across our economies and throughout our societies.
It will not happen if we fall below the level of ambition of the Aichi targets.
It will not happen, unless we learn from our past mistakes. An effective monitoring and review framework, with headline indicators, is an indispensable element in any successful deal.
It will not happen without measurable, numerical targets, to effectively monitor progress.
And it will not happen without targets to ensure that biodiversity is used in a sustainable manner. All areas under agriculture, forestry and fisheries must be managed for the longer term. And long-term sustainability means 50 % reduction in our inputs of pesticides and nutrients.
To avoid your ship from sinking, you need to fix every hole.
Nature is our ship. We are steering between icebergs and rocks, and there are holes in the bottom of our boat.
With restoration, we start to fix those holes.
We need a clear goal, like 6 billion hectares of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. This is good for biodiversity, for climate change and for local economies. It keeps the boat afloat.
We also need a truly ambitious 30 by 30 target.
As global community, we should commit to solid biodiversity outcomes by the middle of the century. That means at least 25% reduction of our ecological footprint by 2030, to bring it within planetary boundaries by 2050.
We cannot outsmart nature. But we can work with it, as we travel in the same direction. With nature-based solutions, enhancing connectivity, ensuring sustainable management and mainstreaming biodiversity across policies and sectors, we do much more than protection. We help fight climate change, we reduce our pollution, and we get nature back on track.
These solutions are the safest course for our ship.
During our bilateral consultations, we have heard a clear request from developing countries. To implement an ambitious biodiversity framework, they need resources.
We need to see finance from all sources, on a scale that fits the enormous challenges we face. Progress on ambition will facilitate progress on finance.
We understand the call from developing countries for new and additional resources and capacity building, as there is a real gap in financing nature.
We must recreate the spirit of solidarity and cooperation that is the foundation of the Convention. Several parties, including the EU and several MS, have pledged significant increases of their international support over the next years. I repeat that we are ready to scale up our support to partner countries, and I call on other countries with capacity to join us in this endeavour.
The transition to nature-positive societies will require more resources than we currently see on the table. We need to align financial flows with our biodiversity objectives, mobilise domestic finance, establish national biodiversity finance plans, and agree on an ambitious numerical value on repurposing harmful incentives.
We also call on international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to significantly boost their nature-positive finance.
An agreement on benefit sharing from the use of digital sequence information would contribute to mobilise additional resources for biodiversity. We are very close to an agreement on DSI, and I hope that the issue can be successfully resolved. For the EU and its Member States, the solution must be multilateral. Burdensome procedures must be avoided, open access should be preserved and scientific research must be able to continue at speed.
President, dear colleagues,
We are all in the same boat. I look to the presidency to propose a course that is ambitious, effective and balanced.
We will play our part searching for solutions.
But we must make sure that the deal is ambitious. It must address the direct drivers of biodiversity loss, to protect our nature, ensure sustainable livelihoods and thereby help eradicate poverty. I believe that we are here together to find the effective and realistic way to halt and reverse alarming biodiversity loss, at all levels – ecosystem, species and genetic, with clear smart targets and implementation framework.
Negotiations are entering the final stretch. All around the world, citizens are watching. They are placing their hopes in us.
Let’s find the solutions we need. Let’s prove ourselves worthy of that trust.
It’s a challenge of planetary dimensions.
May our leadership rise to the occasion.
- Publication date
- 17 December 2022
- Directorate-General for Environment